Kiyo Ann Matsumoto: Only The Second Asian American Woman Ever Confirmed To A Federal Bench

Friday, July 18, 2008

A while back, I posted on Kiyo Ann Matsumoto and her bid to become a federal judge, and yesterday, she was approved by the United States Senate to be the next federal judge in the Eastern District of New York - unanimously - and in doing so, Matsumoto is only the second Asian American woman ever confirmed to a Federal Bench and the first Asian American in that court.

Here's the full story from the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the full United States Senate has unanimously confirmed Kiyo Matsumoto to be the next federal judge in the Eastern District of New York. Schumer, who recommended Matsumoto -- as well as Cathy Seibel to the sit in the Southern District, who is set to be confirmed later this month -- said that these two accomplished women will go a long way toward closing the gender disparity that currently exists on the federal bench. Matsumoto currently serves as a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District, and will be only the second woman of Asian decent ever confirmed to the federal bench.

“Today is an historic day for the Eastern District and for the entire federal court system,” Schumer said. “Judge Matsumoto is an extraordinary jurist and I wholeheartedly congratulate her on her confirmation. I recommended Judge Matsumoto because of her integrity and qualifications, character and dedication. In addition, Judge Matsumoto’s confirmation brings us one step closer to reversing the gender disparity that exists on the federal bench. Our federal bench must reflect the same broad diversity of experience as America writ large.”

Ms. Matsumoto currently serves as a Federal Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, where she has managed a docket of over 300 cases for three years. Prior to her appointment as Federal Magistrate Judge, Ms. Matsumoto served the in U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for over 20 years, as Chief and First Deputy Chief of the Civil Division. Judge Matsumoto’s father and mother spent time in an internment camp during World War II.

"Judge Matsumoto's life and career shows the greatness of those who believe in America and push our nation to its best potential: the woman whose family was subject to the worst injustice under law, now -- as a result of her own talent --has a seat of legal power and influence to judge others with rigor, intellectual excellence and fairness," said Schumer.

In March, Schumer recommended Matsumoto and Cathy Seibel, the current First Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, to the President to fill vacant spots in the Eastern and Southern District respectively Schumer said that right now there are far more men serving on the federal courts in New York, particularly in the Eastern District where only 32 percent of judges are women. Schumer today said that Matsumoto’s confirmation and Ms. Seibel’s expected confirmation later this month will help reverse that unnecessary disparity.

In addition, Magistrate Judge Matsumoto has now become only the second Asian American woman to serve as a federal district court judge and the third Asian American federal district court judge outside of California and Hawaii. She is the eighth Asian American federal Senate-confirmed judge currently active out of approximately 850 nationwide.

The Senate today also confirmed Paul Gardaphe to be a judge on the Southern District of New York.

I mean seriously - how cool is this?